Is Your Voice of the Customer Program Silent?

By Jeannie Walters

Customer experience leaders need to present insight with enough “voice” to prompt actual actions.

Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs are a cornerstone of successful customer experience programs. Yet the way this data is collected and used varies dramatically from one organization to another. 

Voice of the Customer strategies helps organizations see a full view of their customers. The needs wants, behaviors, and challenges of customers can be identified by collecting and analyzing data from various sources.

This collective data leads to insights. Then, action can be taken to improve the customer experience. The Holy Grail is a 360-view of the customer to better meet and exceed their expectations.

Why Don’t Companies Have 360-Degree Customer View?

However, according to a report from Gartner, only 14% of companies felt they had a 360-degree view of the customer. Customer feedback is typically collected in both direct and indirect ways. Customers share feedback via surveys, polls, interviews, and more. But they also share feedback indirectly through social media and user reviews. 

There’s structured feedback, like Net Promoter Score (NPS) results, as well as unstructured feedback, like customer emails and calls. The best VoC programs also include operational and behavioral data, like how customers travel through the digital experience and how often they purchase or renew.

All of this data is valuable and provides the most value when combined to see how the customer is thinking, feeling, and behaving in regard to their relationship with your brand. Data is often summarized and distilled into a dashboard with graphs, highlighted scores, and more. 

The challenge is when the dashboard is not given context or seen as representing the humans it’s supposed to represent. Customer experience leaders are reduced to reporting numbers only. They share what numbers went up and down. They stand behind the colorful dashboard as a sign of progress. I call this role “number narrator.” This is not the ideal role for a customer experience leader. 

And if we agree that the point of any feedback collection is to use it to gain insights that lead to action, we need to move other leaders to feel the urgency of that action. Too many VoC insights are not presented with enough “voice” to prompt real actions. If your Voice of the Customer program is falling flat, it’s time to include the actual, human, real-life voice of your customers.

Use Real Words for Customer Support

It’s one thing to say customers are reporting a lower level of satisfaction with the ordering process. It’s another to use a few quotes: 

  • “I used to love this brand, but now I feel forgotten. I’m looking for options.” 
  • “I’ve tried. I ordered two products from this company and both arrived broken.”
  • “I called customer service to solve my problem, but instead I got attitude and incompetence.”

The power of real words can move even a skeptical executive beyond a numbers-only dashboard. Spreadsheets and graphs are easy to consider as “data” that is removed from the people they represent. The real words of customers are emotional reminders of the individuals and what they’re feeling. Look for quotes from verbatims on surveys, social media reviews, or recorded calls to make your case. Quotes that use feeling words are powerful. Ideally, the regular reports and dashboards can include customer quotes to add color commentary to the Voice of the Customer program.

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Graphs

That might be overstating it. But there is a place for photographs or illustrations to tell the customer’s story. This can be especially useful if the ideal experience has been envisioned but not yet executed. 

For example, one airline had a goal of creating a better experience for customers who were picking up pets. The customer feedback was full of complaints about the dirty, noisy, and impersonal experiences customers had with this specific interaction. They felt the airline hadn’t met its promise and were concerned about the experience of their pets. 


Hakan Ozturk

Hakan Ozturk
Founder,, #1 Weekly Customer Success Newsletter

Hakan Ozturk is a Paris-based Customer Success leader with over 15 years of experience in the computer software industry. Passionate about driving growth and delivering value to strategic customers, Hakan has established himself as a trusted industry expert. As the Founder of The Customer Success Café Newsletter and, Hakan provides valuable industry insights and daily-updated job opportunities worldwide in the field of Customer Success. Connect with Hakan to boost your career in CS and your company’s potential for massive growth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *